ADOLESCENTS WITH DISABILITIES DEMAND AUTHORITY’S INTERVENTION ON SEXUAL HEALTH INFORMATION

AXEL GALEKU

Jinja

The youths living with disability through their representatives among other leaders in Jinja City and District have appealed to the concerned authority’s intervention to provide them with Sexual Reproductive Health Rights information for them during the lockdown.

The youths during an inter faith dialogue with religious leaders from Busoga sub Region in Jinja  said lack of access to Sexual information for youth with disabilities during  the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown has negatively affected the lives of young people in the region.

The dialogue consisted of religious leaders of all faiths from Busoga and Bukedi Region and Civil Society Organisations to forge ways on how best adolescents can access reproductive health services and information.

Ms Marion Namwase Rinah youth leader for the deaf young girls and adolescents in Jinja said information on sexual reproductive services for adolescent girls with disability should not be looked at with a slight approach but with more immediate action.

“We are human beings with equal rights and feelings and we contribute to the economic development of this country.We need to be provided with information on sexual related services to protect us from unwanted pregnancies and catching diseases ”,said Namwase.

She added that many adolescent young girls are fighting the stigma of vulnerability as young girls with disability falling victims to HIV/AIDS,unwanted pregnancies,while others are already young mothers as result of sexual abuses in the communities against them because they have no voice.

Mr Sharif  Ssemeere,the Technical Consultant for youths with disability in Jinja who is also deaf said young people find it difficult to access the health services and the health services providers find it difficult to communicate with the deaf.

“I once took a fellow female deaf friend who has conceived and I took her to one of the health centres in Jinja but the reception we received was discriminative because there is no sign language interpreter in the health centre”,Said  Mr Ssemeere.

He said sign language interpreters should be posted to public places like hospitals,health centres, worship places to ensure that the deaf people too have equal access to the inter faith information.

Bishop  Patrick Wakula of Central Busoga Diocese  said there is a big role that religious leaders need to play in protecting young girls and people from getting unwanted pregnancies.

Bishop Wakula said the church leaders are facing very big problem of harmonizing religious beliefs and the demands for reproductive health and rights of adolescents on sex information rather education.

“Promoting access to comprehensive sexuality education and family planning to children as early as 10 years and empowering young people to know and exercise their rights for sex,the religion teaches that sexual activities should not be discussed with the young”,he said.

However,Dr Justine Nabwire from the health division,Ministry of Health said parents need to play their role of when to share information concerning sexual reproductive health with their children.

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